Help us leave no one ALONE at Christmas

ALONE want your time this Christmas as they support older people across the county
Páraic Duffy, former GAA Secretary General, calls on individuals in the local community to reach out to their older neighbours and give them the gift of companionship

ALONE, the organisation that supports older people to age at home, has launched their Christmas campaign today, containing a revelation: the secret to combating loneliness and social isolation. Former GAA Secretary General and ALONE Christmas Ambassador Páraic Duffy was joined by older people, Aideen Archbold and Tony Durkan to launch the campaign at The Grayson, St Stephens Green, Dublin 2. The Ambassadors remind the public that we are facing into another challenging winter so let’s ensure that nobody has to face these difficult issues while being alone.

ALONE’s campaign entitled, ‘ALONE at Christmas’, offers the public first-hand advice as to how they too can end the silent epidemic of loneliness and social isolation amongst our older people. The secret? The gift of you. Over the past two years, the organisation says, we have proven the strength of our community and the power of connection. This significant partnership of community and connection have in turn helped to provide the answer to loneliness. You are the vital piece needed to reconnect our older people to the community in order for them to feel supported and like they belong.

The pandemic is ageist and some older people have slowly lost their social significance and connection over the past two years as they, and we, continue to navigate the unknown of this pandemic. At times throughout the year, we have been awarded some freedom from lockdowns, yet the recovery for older people has not been as liberating, only intensifying their devaluation and neglect in society.

Can you imagine being alone at Christmas? Being alone at a time of year that is associated with words like merry, joy, peace, love, celebration and jolly. ALONE stresses how proud we are to be part of the community efforts since the beginning of the pandemic and the accomplishments that this small Country achieved when it came to social inclusion and care for our older people. But we are not done yet and we must not stop now.

ALONE’s Christmas Ambassador, Páraic Duffy reflects on what this campaign means to him, “The pandemic has been hard on people of all ages but it has been particularly tough on our older people. The continued need for them to isolate/hideaway has had drastic effects on their mental health and wellbeing. Now, more than ever, we need individuals in the local community to reach out to their older neighbours and give them the gift of companionship. No one wants to spend Christmas alone nor do we want to see others feel alone.”

Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE said, “ALONE are asking that every single person pledges one act of giving in support of our Christmas campaign, ‘ALONE at Christmas’. This time last year the community supports were, in every respect, lifesaving for older people. We’ve seen and continue to work with the Community Gardaí, GAA, An Post and all our partners checking in on older people all across the Country, no matter how rural and isolated you may have been. The Irish Rural Link or the Irish Red Cross were critical in organising transportation to and from hospitals for essential medical appointments. Having these partnerships meant that we were able to support the thousands of older people who came to us for support.”

He continued, “We are a small but mighty Country and we’ve realised that each and every individual holds the power to combatting loneliness and social isolation. Stand with ALONE this Christmas and pledge to participate in the gift of giving yourself. Help end loneliness for the isolated across Ireland this Christmas. You are the solution, don’t waste the opportunity to make someone feel like you care. Make it your mission to leave no one ALONE this Christmas!”

If you or someone you know needs support this Christmas, please call our National Support and Referral Line on 0818 222 024 from 8am – 8pm, seven days a week. ALONE operates 365 days a year so we will be there to take your call when you need us most.

ENDS

About ALONE
ALONE is a national organisation that enables older people to age at home. Our work is for all older people and aims to improve physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. We have a National network of staff and volunteers who provide an integrated system of Support Coordination, Practical Supports, Befriending, a variety of Phone Services, Social Prescribing, Housing with Support and Assistive Technology. We use individualised support plans, to address health, financial benefits and supports, social care, housing, transport and other arising needs using technology and harness other services.

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